What is a "Derivative Work"?


A "derivative work" is any song that takes a preexisting work and uses that material to create a new composition. It differs from a cover song, which is a more straightforward interpretation of an existing composition without significant alterations to the melody or lyrics.

Examples of derivative works include:
- translations
- sampling or replaying (re-recording a segment of the original song)
- parodies
- medleys
- songs arrangements that change lyrics, abridge the music, or make other significant alterations to the original composition.

Clearing derivative works is very difficult. The copyright owner can set any price, take all the time they want, and reject the permission altogether. For this reason, it’s important to temper expectations when making a derivative request. For help making a derivative request, check out our Custom Licensing services.